How to Give Creative Feedback

How to Give Creative Feedback

How to Give Creative Feedback“It needs to be beefed up…” or “I don’t like it…” is not helpful creative feedback. Feedback is fuel for the creative process, and without useful and insightful feedback, the creative will suffer.
Specific and thoughtful communication ensures the right results are achieved in a quicker timeframe – ultimately meaning that the end product will be more successful, done with fewer revisions, and completed faster!

Take yourself out of the picture

No one cares about your opinion. As Seth Godin says: “I don’t want to know how you feel, nor do I care if you would buy it, recommend it, or use it. You are not my market. You are not my focus group. What I want instead of your opinion is your analysis.” Analysis must be the key element of any creative feedback. To do this, remove emotion and analyze the creative based on the objectives and goals of the project.

You are not the target market–even if  you are the same age and sex as your prospective customers. You are inside the machine. You know too much, and can never put yourself in the same position as those people who haven’t yet decided to buy from, trust, or visit you. Ultimately, your like or dislike for the creative piece is irrelevant. Will it catch the eye and persuade your primary target market? That’s the question you need to be asking yourself.

Think strategically

When analyzing the creative piece, compare what the designer has done with what was agreed upon in the creative brief. (You started with a creative brief, right?) Is it aimed at the right audience? Does it use language they will respond to? Does it clearly say why you’re different from your competitors? In the case of an ad, does it get to the point quickly or is it trying to say too much? Will the visuals draw the attention of your target market? Think about the magazine, newspaper, mailbox, or tradeshow where the piece will appear…is it going to stand out or blend in?
Tip: Always have the creative and client briefs with you when you analyze creative pieces.
You should always be aware of who the client is, what their main goals are, and for whom the piece is targeted when reviewing marketing materials.

Be specific about needed changes

It’s okay to make changes. Just be specific about what needs to be different. Give direction–at least point your creative team towards something or away from something. The worst feedback you can give is “I don’t like it, but I don’t know why” or “I’ll know what I’m looking for when I see it.” Go back to the above point and answer those questions honestly. Pinpoint exactly where the creative work is not on strategy. Ask yourself if the change you want to make will have an impact on the response rate, effectiveness, or readability of the piece.
To help your creative team produce the best pieces possible, remember these tips when providing your feedback:

  1. Offer your analysis rather than your personal opinion
  2. Keep the original creative strategy at the forefront of your mind
  3. Be specific about what needs to be changed or altered
Darren Tonn


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